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Geochemistry & Isotope Biogeochemistry Group

Areal distribution of microbial sulfate reduction rates in summer
Sulfate reduction rates in coastal surface sediments during summer time (Al-Raei et al., 2009)

May 3rd, 2024:

 Successfull sampling campaign n the impact of hard water creeks on the carbon system of the southern Baltic Sea

Successfull sampling campaign on the impact of hard water creeks on the carbon system of the southern Baltic Sea ((C)Böttcher, ME).


Breaking News:


May, 2nd, 2024:

Research( .com)‘, an international academic platform for researchers, has just released the 2024 Edition of Ranking of Best Scientists in the field of Earth Sciences.
Michael E. Böttcher is ranked #87 in Germany and #1471 in the world. He is recognized with their Earth Science Leader Award for 2024.


April, 2nd, 2024:

Michael E. Böttcher is appointed as (co-)Editor of the international scientific journal "Isotopes (in Environmental & Health Studies)"


September, 20th, 2023:

Denise Otto, former BSc student in the BGC group receives the Otto-Krümmel Förderpreis 2023 for her BSc thesis. Congratulations and good luck for the future!


June 2023:

Michael E. Böttcher is appointed as Associate Editor for the new international scientific jounal Geo-Bio Interfaces, published by Cambridge University Press


May 2023:

Antonia C. Schell and Cátia M. Ehlert von Ahn defended their MSc and PhD theses at the University of Greifswald very successfully. Congratulations!


December 2022:

Michael Böttcher is honored by a full membership in Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society





December, 2021:

Michael E. Böttcher is appointed as Associate Editor in the Editorial Board of the international journal "Isotopes in Environmental & Health Studies"



September 2018:

In collaboration with Swiss colleagues, the research group discovers for the first time a substantial isotope effect for Ba isotopes and presents a new model for oxygen isotope fractionation in the aquatic hyper-alkaline carbonate-forming environments



European Association of Geochemistry (EAG) supports Stable Isotope Session at EGU 2023 in Vienna


This year, for the eleventh time since 2012, the European Association of Geochemistry (EAG) is co-organizing and supporting the session

'Application of Stable Isotopes in Biogeosciences'.


Conveneers are: Michael E. Böttcher (IOW Warnemünde), Kirstin Dähnke (HZG Geesthacht),
Gerd Gleixner (MPI Jena), Anne-Désirée Schmitt (University of Strasbourg)





Outstanding reviewer PPP

May 2017:

Michael Böttcher was awarded as 'Outstanding Reviewer' for the international scientific journal Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Paleoecology.





Erfolg durch Eisernen Vorhang


Auf der diesjährigen internationalen ECSA56 (Coastal Systems in Transition)-Konferenz in Bremen wurde ein Beitrag, den der IOW-Doktorand Marko Lipka aus der AG Geochemie & Isotopen-Biogeochemie vorgestellt hat, mit dem diesjährigen Posterpreis ausgezeichnet. So herausgestellt wurde das Poster mit dem Titel:

„Submarine Groundwater Discharge: A source of P and DIC for the southern Baltic Sea
and the role of an Iron Curtain“

des Autor*innenkollektivs: Lipka, Sültenfuß, Wu, Escher, Schmiedinger, Struck, Dellwig & Böttcher. Darin geht es um die Bedeutung von Grundwasser als Quelle von Phosphat und gelöstem anorganischen Kohlenstoff für die Küstengewässer der Ostsee und die Bedeutung von Eisen-Oxyhydroxid Fällungen an Quellwasser-Austritten für die Phosphat-Retention.





Outstanding reviewer GCA


In November 2016, Michael Böttcher was awarded as 'Outstanding Reviewer' for the international scientific journal Geochimica et Cosmochimca Acta.




Happy Birthday (Bio)Geochemistry!

In January 2016, we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Geochemistry & Isotope Biogeochemistry Group at the Leibniz IOW, Germany.



Top of the Isotopes

September, 29th, 2015, University of Heidelberg: Professor Dr. Michael Böttcher, head of the Geochemistry & Isotope-Biogeochemistry Group at IOW, was elected as vice speaker of the German Association of Stable Isotope Research (GASIR) during the annual meeting. The GASIR is an association of scientists coming from diverse disciplines. All in common is the application of different stable isotope systems in research.

More informations under:


Outstanding reviewer EPSL

In June 2015, Michael Böttcher was awarded as 'Outstanding Reviewer' for the international scientific journal Earth & Planetary Science Letters.



                                                         Chemical Geology

Starting on August 1st, 2013, Prof. Dr. Michael Böttcher took the responsibility as (co) Editor-in-Chief of the renowned international scientific journal Chemical Geology. He is responsible for the fields: Biogeochemistry, Stable Isotope Geochemistry, Hydrogeochemistry, Low-Temperature Water-Rock Interactions, Carbon and Sulfur Geochemistry, and Paleoceanography.

More informations under:




The key approach of the main research activities are focuses on the process-oriented investigation (field, experiment, model) of separated and connected biogeochemical element cycles with the use of special analytical approaches as stable isotope (S, O, C, H) and redox-sensitive element partitioning (e.g., S, C, O, P, Fe, Mn, Mo). It is reflected by the main research areas:

• Stable Isotope Geochemistry

• Aquatic Geochemistry
• Sediment Geochemistry
• Environmental Geochemistry

• Experimental Geochemistry

• Mineral authigenesis (carbonates, phosphates, sulfates and sulfides)

• Proxy formation processes and application to paleo-environmental changes

• Redox and trace element biogeochemistry




Current Hot Topics:

•  Submarine Ground Water Discharge

•  Ocean Acidification

•  Phosphorous cycling

•  Mineral Authigenesis

•  Redox gradients


Current study areas:

•  Baltic Sea

•  North Sea

•  Black Sea

•  Mediterranean Sea

•  South China Sea


Analytical methods:

Aqueous solutions:

- ICP-OES (major, minor, and trace elements)

- D/H, 18O/16O, 17O/16O, and 2H and 17O-excess in water (Picarro CRDS)

- Concentrations and 13C/12C in DIC and DOC; 34S/32S in e.g., sulfide, sulfate; 18O/16O in sulfate (gas mass spectrometry with different inlet systems- see 'isotope fascility')

- Spectrophotometry (sulfide, iron, phosphate, sulfate, alkalinity)

- Titration analyzer with autosampler (titration alkalinity, chloride)

- Ion sensitive electrodes, laboratory and field instruments, and microsensor stand (pH, oxygen microprofiling)

- Specific conductivity, temperature

Solid phases:

- Chemical sequential extraction lines (sulfur, metal, and phosphorous species)

- D/H and 18O/16O in mineral hydrate water (Picarro CRDS)

- 13C/12C in carbonates; 34S/32S in e.g., sulfides, sulfates; 18O/16O in carbonates and sulfates
  (gas mass spectrometry with different inlet systems- see 'isotope fascility')


Experimental set-ups:

- Experimental set-ups to follow low-temperature dissolution and precipitation reactions under controlled conditions of temperature and CO2-partial pressure (in particular: carbonates, sulfates, phosphates (sulfides))

- Gas mixing device (CO2 - Ar/N2)




Sampling in the German Wadden Sea.   Reference left: Al-Raei et al. (2009) Seasonal dynamics of microbial sulfate reduction in temperate intertidal surface sediments: controls by temperature and organic matter. Ocean Dynamics 59: 351–370.   doi 10.1007/s10236-009-0186-5

Right: Sampling in a Brazilian lagoon

Running projects

  MSc and BSc projects
          There are always open projects for enthusiastic MSc and BSc students.
          Please contact the group leader for further details.
          Examples for current topics are:
       -  Impact of ground water (SGD) on coastal biogeochemistry
       -  Impact of ocean acidification on the biogeochemistry of coastal seas
       -  The carbonate system of marginal seas
       -  Authigenic minerals as process markers
       -  Biogeochemistry of the coupled sulfur-metal cycles in marginal seas
       -  Formation, transformation and destruction of carbonates (e.g. travertin),
       - Phosphates, sulfates, and sulfides
       -  Experimental geochemistry: Trace element and stable isotope fractionation
       -  Modeling of water-rock interactions
       -  Selected field areas: Baltic Sea, North Sea, Black Sea, Brazil, China
  • COOLSTYLE (Biogeochemistry of Carbon storage in the North - Baltic Sea continuum (part of CARBOSTORE))
    BMBF (2021-2024)
    Dr. Patrick H. Meister (project scientist), Dr. C. Ehlert von Ahn (now ZMT)
  • Graduate colleg Baltic TRANSCOAST (Water and Material Exchange between a coastal peatland and the Baltic Sea)
    TP Biogeochemistry and Isotope Hydrology
    DFG (2019-2026)
    (Current PhDs: MSc Rhodelyn Saban, MSc Anna-K. Jenner, cand. BSc Maurits Krüger)
MPA-DAM (Impact of fishery on surface sediment biogeochemistry in the southern Baltic Sea)
Subproject Benthic biogeochemistry and element fluxes
BMBF/DAM (2020-2023)
(Post Doc:) Dr. M. Zeller, Dr. P. Roeser
  • DAAD (Impact of submarine and surface freshwater outflow on Baltic Sea coastal seas)
    DAAD (2018-2022) Stipend
    (PhD stipend: Dr. Cátia M. Ehlert von Ahn)
  • KISNET (Comparison of methods to investigate Submarine Groundwater Discharge)
    DFG (2020-2023)
    MSc Antonia Schell
  • BlackMan (The role of Mn-driven AOM on sediments of the Black Sea Biogeochemistry)
    Stipend (2019-2020)
    Dr. Tiantian Sun
Group leader
Group members
Dr. Olaf Dellwig (Senior Scientist)
Iris Schmiedinger (Technical Assistant)
Anne Köhler (Technical Assistant)
Dr.habil. Patrick H. Meister (Project Scientist): Impact of sediments for the dissolved carbon system of the North and Baltic Sea
Dr. Jurjen Rooze (Guest): Modelling sediment biogeochemistry
MSc Anna-Kathrina Jenner (PhD student): Flooding of coastal peatlands and submarine groundwater discharge
MSc Rhodelyn Saban (PhD student): Biogeochemistry of coastal systems under impact of of water exchange
MSc Julia Westphal (PhD student): Coastal water-materal exchange processes
BSc Svante Peters (MSc student): The role of mineral formation rates for the carbon cycle of hard-water-creeks entering the Baltic Sea
Matilada Balow (BSc student): Spatial hard water creek carbon biogeochemistry on Rügen Island
Anja Sophie Harsányi (BSc student): The stability and reactivity of complex carbonates from the system (Ba-Mg-Mn-Fe-Ca)CO3
Maurits Krüger  (BSc student) Sulfur mineral authigenesis in a peatland flooded by brackish seawater
Dr. Cátia M. Ehlert von Ahn (Guest): Submarine Groundwater Discharge
Recently succesfully finished:
BSc Ann-Christin Steenbock (now MSc student): Seasonal isotope biogeochemistry in the Warnow estuary, BSc thesis
BSc Lisa Bruechner (now MSc student, Uni Greifswald): (Isotopen-)Geochemische Analyse des Karbonat-abscheidenden Kollicker Baches: Zum Verständnis der Entwicklung von Quell- und Oberflächengewässern im Kontext der Bedeutung für den küstennahen Kohlenstoffkreislauf, BSc thesis
BSc Tamina Bruhnke (now MSc student ICBM Oldenburg): Mineral formation associated with carbonate sinter formation, BSc thesis


Physico-chemical measurements at a carbonate spring on Rügen Island (Foto: F. Tauber)